Portuguese Sweet Bread- Pao Doce

I first had this amazing sweet bread a few years ago when I was invited over to a friend of mine’s grandmother’s house. She was from Portugal and was such a sweet woman. Her cooking was also fantastic and I was definitely spoiled with food that day!

The Poa Doce (pow dough-say) sweetbread is a delicious treat that you can have for breakfast toasted with butter, for an afternoon snack with coffee, or after dinner treat. After making this bread my husband said I need to bake more often! It was definitely a hit.

Once finished baking, this bread is a beautiful round loaf encrusted with course sugar. Can’t get much better than that! For all of you out there thinking, “bread isn’t really something I’m good at making,” do not worry! The first time I tried making this bread it did not rise as much as needed, but it still tasted amazing! The second time came out even better.

Before we get started, here’s a few fun facts about Portugal! These are fun to share with friends, family or kids you may be cooking with.

  • Portugal is the oldest country in Europe. It has had the same defined borders since 1139.

  • The oldest bookstore in the world is in Portugal’s capital of Lisbon. Bertrand Bookshop was established in 1732.

  • Portugal is one of the world’s top surf spots. The country has a coastline that spans 497 miles (800 kilometers) and is said to have 364 days of surf.

For more fun facts, click here!

The recipe today has been adapted from Sheila Lukins’ “All Around the World Cookbook.” It is a great resource for anyone who is interested in getting a general overview of foods from the world.

Without further delay, let’s dig in to today’s recipe! For a printable version of the recipe, click here.


  • 1/2 cup milk (or almond milk)

  • 1 tsp sugar

  • 1/3 cup sugar

  • 1 package active dry yeast

  • 2 eggs

  • 1 tsp salt

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, 1/2 extra if needed

  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter, softened but not hot.

  • 1 tbsp coarse sugar. If you do not have this laying around it is okay to use the granulated sugar for the topping.


  1. Heat the milk in a small saucepan until warm to the touch, make sure to stir it so that it does not burn. Pour into a small bowl and add 1 tsp sugar. Add the yeast and let proof for 5-10 minutes. The yeast will start to expand. Do not stir, just let it sit.

  2. While the yeast is proofing, in a large bowl whisk the 1/3 cup sugar, 1 egg, and the salt. Stir in 1 1/2 cups flour. Add the yeast mixture and stir with a wooden spoon. Once everything is folded in, stir heartily for 25 strokes. Then beat in the soft butter slowly until fully folded in. Stir in another 1/2 cup flour and begin to knead with your hands. If it is too sticky, add some more flour.


3. Dump the dough onto a floured surface and knead for another 5 minutes. (Use a cutting board instead of countertop as the floured surface and this will help reduce the amount of cleanup afterward!) Add just enough flour so the dough is not sticky.


4. Form the dough into a ball and set it in a buttered bowl. Turn it around a bit to cover it in butter. Make sure you place the dough in a draft free area that is slightly warmer. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let it rise for about an hour.

5. Butter a 9-inch pie plate and gently knead the dough briefly. Place the dough in the middle of the pie plate, cover loosely and let rise for another 1.5 hours.


6. Preheat the oven to 350 Fahrenheit.

7. Beat the remaining egg in a small bowl and use a pastry brush to coat the loaf. Sprinkle the coarse sugar over the top.

8. Bake the loaf for about 35 minutes. When you take it out of the oven, cool on a wire rack in the pan for a few minutes and then transfer out of the pan back onto the rack. Let it cool completely.

9. Serve warm with coffee or tea.

Samantha CouickComment